The Pochettino thought move was Leonardo’s ‘joke’ is a story about how Mauricio Pochettino, the manager of Tottenham Hotspur, thought that Barcelona’s signing of Messi from Juventus was a joke.
Mauricio Pochettino, the coach of Paris Saint-Germain, has stated that he first mistook club sporting director Leonardo for a joke when he was informed that Lionel Messi’s signing was a possibility.
PSG signed Messi as a free agent on August 10, only days after Barcelona said they couldn’t register the six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s new deal due to budgetary limitations.
“‘The potential exists,’ Leonardo remarked over the phone. ‘Do you think you’ll enjoy it or not?’ The good news is that he contacted me to inquire. ‘Is it a question?’ I asked myself. No, I didn’t think it was a joke. Obviously, “Pochettino said the following.
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“‘Do we have to go get him?’ I asked. Is it necessary for me to drive the van?’ That’s when the negotiations began. Leonardo began calling me every night after that to update me on the situation.”
Messi, 34, had signed a new five-year contract with Barcelona, which had expired on June 30. However, under that arrangement, Barca’s salary cost would have been 110 percent of their income.
“Everyone expected Messi to stay at Barcelona,” Pochettino said.
“With Messi becoming a free agent, many, if not all, teams wanted to sign him. Leo wanted to come here from the minute PSG expressed interest. Everything occurred at a breakneck speed. We must recognize Leonardo’s, our president’s, and all of the club’s officials’ efforts in completing the signing of the greatest player in the world in only two or three days.”
Meanwhile, Leonardo, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, and club officials are still trying to persuade Kylian Mbappe to extend his contract beyond next summer.
“Who can believe PSG wouldn’t want him [Mbappe] to stay here for a long time?” Pochettino went on to say.
Mauricio Pochettino of PSG said that Lionel Messi was desired by every club in the globe. PSG/PSG via Getty Images, photo by Aurelien Meunier
“The club will attempt to persuade and entice him into staying.”
Mbappe, a long-time Real Madrid target, expressed his desire to leave PSG in July, but the Ligue 1 champions refused to sell him despite the fact that he will be a free agent next summer and could sign with a new club on January 1.
Despite strong interest from Real Madrid, Mbappe’s mother, Fayza Lamari, recently said that her son is in negotiations to sign a new contract with PSG.
“He is straightforward and passionate about football,” Pochettino added. “He is 22 years old, yet he is extremely mature in dealing with issues involving his future. I have no doubt that Kylian will be able to meet any obstacle that the future throws at him.
“Football players are not to be taken lightly. They have their entourage and advisers, but they are the ones who make the choices. Kylian will make the choice he has to make, and the club will do all in its power to retain Kylian because he is one of the greatest players on the planet. He is 22 years old and has a lot of promise.”
Pochettino thinks Neymar, PSG’s other major star, will play for many more years. The Brazilian striker stated this week that the next World Cup might be his last.
Neymar, 29, claimed he was not sure whether he had the “power of mind to cope with football longer” and that Qatar 2022 might be his last participation in the event.
“He is a genuine guy who communicates his emotions immediately, yet in a life that has been in the limelight for a long time, his mental power is impressive. Since he was a child, he has been under a lot of stress “Pochettino said.
“Things are sometimes taken out of context. Neymar is a football fanatic, and I am certain that he will continue to play for many more years. There isn’t a doubt in my mind.”
Sergio Ramos is still out with an injury, according to Pochettino, and will go through “individualized training” for another ten days as he prepares to play his first game for the club since joining from Real Madrid.
“I am certain that Ramos will be able to reach his peak performance. Sergio’s position is difficult since he has not had the opportunity to practice with his teammates or play for an extended period of time. He’s in pain, but he’s a fighter, and everyone at the club is assisting him “he said